Thursday, July 18, 2024

Ultimate Guide to Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park – Bearfoot Theory


Bryce Canyon National Park could be the most underrated national park in the US. Although the rock formations are not as towering as the Zion cliffs, and the drop-offs are not as steep as the Grand Canyon, there is something magical about the intricately sculpted hoodoos scattered around the park – not to mention the brilliant orange glow of the stained limestone under the morning sun.

With all it has to offer, you may wonder what are the best things to do in Bryce Canyon during your time there. It can feel overwhelming to plan a Bryce Canyon itinerary due to the countless options for lodging, campgrounds, restaurants, and the best times to visit.

I will answer all your questions in this complete guide to the best things to do in Bryce Canyon National Park and provide an itinerary for a day in Bryce Canyon so you can get the most out of your time in this unique Utah destination.

Note: This article was originally written by Taylor Pike and was updated by me and the Bearfoot Theory Team in 2024.

Important Reminder: As it goes in all of the destinations we share, please practice good trail etiquette and remember to Leave No Trace. This means packing out all of your garbage (including toilet paper), being respectful to others, and following the established rules.

Why Visit Bryce Canyon National Park?

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in Southern Utah and is known for its distinctive red rock formations. The park was established in 1928 and covers a total area of 35,835 acres.

The main attraction is the Bryce Amphitheater, full of beautifully eroded rock formations. These unique formations are called hoodoos, which are orange and red spire-like rocks that range in height from a few feet to over 100 feet. Popular viewpoints in the park along the Bryce Amphitheater include Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, and Inspiration Point.

Red rock hoodoo formations in Bryce Canyon National Park
The spire-like hoodoo formations are just one reason to visit Bryce Canyon

The park splits into two main sections: the initial 3-mile section of the main park road featuring the Bryce Amphitheater and the remaining 15 miles of the road called the Southern Scenic Drive. Hikes and viewpoints along the Southern Scenic Drive tend to be more forested and feature fewer hoodoos than the Bryce Amphitheater section.

Bryce Canyon National Park is also home to various wildlife, including birds of all kinds, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. In addition to hiking, there are other adventurous things to do in Bryce Canyon, including camping, horseback riding, biking, snowshoeing, stargazing, and more.

Utah National Parks checklist

Get my Utah National Parks Checklist

Enter your email below to get this PDF guide on your phone, so you don’t miss anything on your Utah Road Trip!

Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

The best time to visit Bryce Canyon depends on what type of experience you want, which activities you want to do, and the views you want to see.

Bryce Canyon is open year-round, but the most popular months are May-September. The temperatures during this time are warm, but the park does not get as hot as other Utah national parks due to its elevation.

The daily high temperature averages around 70-80 degrees in July and August. However, the summer also brings afternoon thunderstorms that may lead to rockslides, flash flooding, and potential trail closures.

If you want to skip some of the crowds and have cooler weather, consider visiting Bryce Canyon during the shoulder spring and fall seasons.

Another option is the winter. Visitors can enjoy a unique look at the hoodoos under a coat of fresh snow while avoiding the crowds when visiting in the off-season. Just be aware that some trails and roads are more likely to be closed during this time due to icy conditions. Prepare your bags with winter hiking clothes and microspikes if you visit in winter. Also, consider packing cross-country skis or snowshoes, or rent them from Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon City for a different trail experience.

Because of the unpredictable weather year-round, keep an eye on the weather and check for closures before visiting the park.

View of hoodoos in the Bryce Amphitheater covered in snow.
Bryce Canyon National Park in the winter with snow on the hoodoos

How to Get to Bryce Canyon National Park

If you flying, the closest big airports are Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. From there you’ll need to reserve a rental car and drive to Bryce Canyon.

  • From Las Vegas (4 hour drive): Take I-70 > UT-20 > US-89 > UT-12. You can also take a detour through Zion National Park which realistically adds 1 hour if you don’t make any stops. Going through Zion is the most scenic route from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon.
  • From Salt Lake City (4 hour drive): Take I-15S > UT-20E > US-89S > UT-12E.
  • From Denver: The most direct route is I-70W > UT-72S > UT-24W > UT-62S. However, coming from the East, Moab (a Utah adventure-hub) isn’t too far out of the way if you want to turn this into a bigger trip.

Camping Near Bryce Canyon National Park

Plan on bringing your RV, van, or camping rig on your trip? The dark sky in Bryce Canyon makes for incredible stargazing conditions at night for camping. With paid campgrounds and dispersed camping available, you have multiple options on where to sleep under the stars during your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon National Park Campgrounds

There are two campgrounds available for use inside the park. Each campground has 100 campsites and access to a dump station with potable water nearby. You can also leave your vehicle parked at your campsite and use the free Bryce Canyon National Park shuttle to get around the park.

Both campgrounds have flush toilets along with fire rings and picnic tables. Neither campground has showers or sewer, water, or electrical hookups.

North Campground

North Campground is on the east of the Visitors Center. Of the 100 campsites available, half are for RV campers and the other half for tent campers.

The campground costs $30 per night. First-come, first-served camping is from January 1-May 18. From May 19-October 6, you must reserve a campsite on the website.

a dusty campsite at North Campground in Bryce Canyon National Park
Camping at Bryce Canyon’s North Campground

Sunset Campground

Another option for camping in Bryce Canyon National Park is Sunset Campground. This campground is near Sunset Point, about 1.5 miles south of the Visitor Center.

There is first-come, first-served camping here from April 15-May 17 and October 15-October 31. From May 18-October, there is a 14-day reservation window from May 18-October 14. You can reserve a campsite on

Sunset Campground also has a reservable group site at an additional cost.

Campgrounds Near Bryce Canyon

There is an abundance of paid private campgrounds around Bryce Canyon National Park. These campgrounds often feature unique amenities that the campgrounds in the park do not offer.

Ruby’s Inn RV Park & Campground

Anyone who has visited Bryce Canyon knows that Ruby’s Inn is the hub of lodging, camping, eating, and shopping near the park. It is just a short drive from the park entrance. The free park shuttle also stops here for convenient access to the park.

The campground has cabins, tipis, RV, and tent spaces to reserve. All RV spaces have electric and water hookups. The campground also offers guests plentiful amenities, including hot showers, internet, and a pool.

brick building front of Ruby's Inn outside of Bryce Canyon National Park
The famous Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon City

Red Canyon Campground

If you are looking for a scenic campground outside the park without all the bells and whistles, consider Red Canyon Campground. This campground features stunning rock formations and trail access for hiking and biking.

This campground does not take reservations, and spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis from May 5-October 9. There are no hookups, but the campground offers drinking water, flush and vault toilets, showers, and a dump station for guests.

Bryce Canyon Dispersed Camping

If you prefer to camp on dispersed land, there is plenty of national forest land for free camping in Bryce Canyon National Park. If you cannot reserve a spot inside the park, there is no need to panic. There are a ton of free dispersed campsites within a 20-minute drive of the park.

There are spots with epic views that require 4×4 and camping areas that are easy to access within forested areas. I recommend using our ultimate guide to finding free campsites to find your ideal dispersed campsite near Bryce Canyon.

Find camping at sold out campgrounds

Try The Dyrt PRO free for 30 days

The Dyrt Alerts will help you get reservations at sold-out campgrounds across the US by sending you an alert when your desired dates become available.

• Select campgrounds and the dates you want to camp
• The Dyrt repeatedly scans for cancellations
• When your campsite becomes available you’ll get a Dyrt Alert sent to your phone!

Use the code BEARFOOT to get 30 days free!

Bryce Canyon National Park Lodging

If you prefer not to camp, there are options for lodging both within the park and in nearby towns such as Bryce Canyon City or Tropic.

The Lodge at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park offers a lodge inside the park for those who prefer to stay near the trails and sleep indoors. The Lodge is located near the Bryce Amphitheater and has over 100 rooms available to reserve. A restaurant near the lobby serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, making it a perfect stop for a quick bite before or after a day of hiking.

The Lodge is open April 1-November 1 and offers cabin rentals, motel rooms, and suites ranging in price. Be sure to check which options will be available during your visit.

The Lodge at Bryce Canyon National Park with snow on the ground and green pine trees.
The Lodge at Bryce Canyon National Park during the winter

Other Bryce Canyon Hotels & Glamping Options

There are many hotels available right outside of Bryce Canyon National Park.

  • Ruby’s Inn: In addition to its campground, Ruby’s Inn has affordable rooms with amenities, including an indoor pool and fitness center.
  • Best Western Plus: I stayed at the Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand. The rooms were spacious and well-kept, and the location provided unmatched access to the park.
  • Bryce Camp and Glamp: If you prefer glamping, check out the Bryce Glamp and Camp. You can stay in a dome and enjoy amenities like a TV, fireplace, disc golf course, and volleyball nets.

You can also stay in Tropic, a town just a few miles down the road with cabins, shops, and restaurants to explore. Although it is a further drive to the park, lodging here typically costs less.

Restaurants in Bryce Canyon

Whether you are camping or staying in a lodge, you may want to go out to eat at restaurants in Bryce Canyon. Although there aren’t many options for dining in the area, there are a few options inside of the national park along with the small towns of Bryce Canyon City and Tropic. If you are on a plant-based diet, like myself, or have other dietary restrictions, I recommend planning ahead and bringing your own food, since you won’t find much at these restaurants.

Restaurants in Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Bryce Canyon Lodge: The Lodge has a dining room with 180 seats, and lunch is served daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. You cannot make reservations since seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, but you should have no trouble getting seats. The lunch menu offers a salad bar, soup, burgers, and quesadillas.
  • Valhalla Pizzeria and Coffee Shop: Open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, this restaurant features pizzas, salads, baked goods, and beverages.
  • General Store: If you want a quick breakfast before hitting the trail in the park, swing by the General Store near Sunrise Point for a homemade donut.
The outside of the General Store in Bryce Canyon National Park near sunrise point.
Outside view of the General Store in Bryce Canyon National Park

Restaurants in Bryce Canyon City and Tropic

Here are a few of the more popular restaurants outside of Bryce Canyon.

  • i.d.k. Barbecue: If you love BBQ for dinner after a long hike, BFT contributor Taylor suggests visiting i.d.k. Barbecue in Tropic. It is a small barbecue joint about 15 minutes from the park. Save room for the unbeatable peach cobbler.
  • Pizza Place: For pizza lovers, check out The Pizza Place in Tropic. When BFT contributor Kaylin visited Bryce Canyon, she craved pizza and stopped at this restaurant due to its great reviews. The Pizza Place offers giant pizzas at an exceptional value for the price. The food also came out quickly, which she appreciated after a long day of exploring.
  • Stone Hearth Grille: Stone Hearth Grille is the highest rated restaurant in the area, open from May to October every year. Here you’ll find a couple of vegetarian/vegan-friendly options on their new-American menu. Reservations are recommended

Grocery Stores in Bryce Canyon

There are a few grocery stores for the days you do not want to dine out. For simple groceries and last-minute items like sunscreen, head to Ruby’s Inn General Store or the General Store in Bryce Canyon National Park. If you need more groceries, head to Clarke’s Country Market in Tropic.

How to Get Around Bryce Canyon National Park

There are two ways most park visitors travel from one point to another within the park: driving or taking the park shuttle.

Driving in Bryce Canyon

The most popular way to explore Bryce Canyon National Park is by car. For seven consecutive days of unlimited access, you can pay the park entry fee of $35 per vehicle (or snag an America the Beautiful pass if you plan to visit multiple national parks within the year).

Grab a map at the entrance or stop for one at the Visitors Center. It will provide the park layout, including parking areas and trailheads.

The main park road is 18 miles long. The first 3 miles of the road are the most popular and fall within the Bryce Amphitheater section of the park.

If you continue driving on the main park road past the first 3 miles, this section becomes the Southern Scenic Drive. It takes about 40 minutes to drive from the Visitor Center to the furthest point of the road (Rainbow Point) without stopping.

I recommend driving up the road without stopping and then pulling over at the viewpoints on your way down so they are easier to pull in and out of on the right-hand side.

If you plan on entering the park before or after peak hours, you should not have much trouble finding a parking spot. The park is busiest between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Plan to arrive early to secure your parking spot or consider taking the park shuttle.

Bryce Canyon Park Shuttle

The Bryce Canyon shuttle runs from April to October and stops inside and outside the park. The shuttle is free with proof of purchase of a park entrance pass, which also covers your group members. 

The downside of using the park shuttle is that the earliest shuttle leaves at 8:00 a.m., which is too late to view the sunrise. Most shuttle stops are at popular viewpoints with trailhead access, lodging and camping areas, and buildings like the Visitor Center.

Be aware of the shuttle hours (they change based on the season). If you get to the shuttle stop too late, you must find a different way back to your campsite or hotel.

Map showing the shuttle stops in Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park shuttle stops

Top Trails in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is full of adventures and hiking trails for people of all abilities. If you have limited time to explore, here are the top 3 trails in Bryce Canyon.

Trails leading up to red rock hoodoo formations in Bryce Canyon National Park
Hiking among the hoodoos is a must for any visitor to Bryce Canyon National Park

1. Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail

  • Distance: 3.0 miles
  • Type: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 652 feet
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead start: Sunrise Point or Sunset Point

A few trails run through the Bryce Amphitheater, but the most popular (and rightfully so) is the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail. This hike combines a section of the Navajo Loop with the Queens Garden Trail for the ultimate hoodoo experience.

You can begin your hike from either Sunrise Point or Sunset Point. Hiking this loop counterclockwise, you’ll descend the steep switchbacks of the Navajo Loop at the beginning of the hike instead of climbing them at the end of the loop.

Since this is a popular trail, you should start early in the morning to take in the views without the heat or the trail traffic. If you wake up to catch the sunrise from Sunrise Point one morning, you can start this trail just a few feet from your viewpoint.

This dreamlike trail takes you down through the canyon where you will experience the grandeur of the massive and intricately carved hoodoos. Stop at points along the trail like the Thor’s Hammer hoodoo and Queen Victoria hoodoo and admire the awe of these geological formations.

On the Navajo Loop side of the trail, you can choose to take the switchbacks or follow a branching route through Wall Street, a narrow path through colossal walls on either side. This section of the trail is closed through May 2024 and during winter months, but if you can take this route during your stay, be sure to take the opportunity.

Make sure you bring lots of water for this hike and the other important day hiking essentials, especially if you plan on attempting this trail later in the day in the summer months. High temperatures plus high elevation can lead to dehydration, so drink more than you typically would to stay hydrated and use adequate sun protection.

There is also a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoons, especially in July and August. Bring a rain jacket or poncho in your hiking pack.

The Wall Street Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park descending down into narrow canyon
The famous Wall Street section of the loop trail / Photo credit: Taylor Pike

2. Peekaboo Loop Trail

  • Distance: 5.2 miles
  • Type: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,528 feet
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead start: Bryce Point

Want a slightly longer hike through the canyon? The Peekaboo Loop Trail has just what you are looking for. Walk through the southern side of the canyon to see the stages of hoodoo formation, including the Wall of Windows.

With steep inclines, this is a much more strenuous trail carved into the side of the cliffs. You can access the trail from the Navajo Loop Trail or the 1.5-mile path from Bryce Point.

Natural stone arches set among towering red rock Wall of Windows hoodoo formations on the Peekaboo Loop trail in Bryce Canyon National Park
The Wall of Windows features several rock arch formations / Photo credit: Taylor Pike

3. Fairyland Loop

  • Distance: 7.9 miles
  • Type: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,555 feet
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead start: Fairyland Point

The Fairyland Loop is my favorite trail in Bryce Canyon National Park. This trail is in the northern region and passes close by spiraling hoodoos. Hikers will experience much of the same landscapes as the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail mentioned above but with less foot traffic.

It is best to start the Fairyland Loop hike early in the morning to get sunrise views and beat the mid-day heat. Also, pack lots of water as most of the trail is exposed.

If you visit in the winter, start this hike at Sunrise Point since Fairyland Road is closed during the winter. I recommend bringing traction devices like microspikes since the trail can get icy and slick.

Views out over hoodoos in Bryce National Park
Views out over Hoodoos from the Fairyland Loop

Other Things to Do in Bryce Canyon

Depending on time, check out this list of other things to do in Bryce Canyon for a memorable experience.

1. Backpack the Under-the-Rim Trail

  • Distance: 22.9 miles
  • Type: Point-to-point
  • Elevation Gain: 5,500 feet
  • Time: 2-3 days
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Trailhead start: Rainbow Point or Bryce Point
  • Permit Required: Yes

While I have yet to do an overnight hiking trip in Bryce Canyon, there are several backpacking options in the park for the ultimate adventure seekers. The most popular backpacking trail in Bryce Canyon is the Under-the-Rim Trail.

This 22.9-mile trail stretches from Rainbow Point to Bryce Point among the hoodoos through the park’s forested backcountry. Hikers typically go south to north, and you can use the free park shuttle to get a ride back to your vehicle.

Purchase a backcountry permit from the Visitor Center or to backpack in Bryce Canyon. It costs $15 per person, and you may only camp at the designated campsites along the trail. Water sources along the Under-the-Rim Trail are limited, so do plenty of research while planning your trip.

Under the Rim backpacking trail in Bryce Canyon National Park
Window on the Under the Rim Trail

2. Watch the Sunrise over the Bryce Amphitheater

The Bryce Amphitheater is the main canyon to see the highest concentration of hoodoos. Hoodoos are rock spires formed over millions of years from moving land and water and freezing temperatures. As the elements gradually chipped away at the rock, the plateaus transformed into walls, windows, and finally, into the hoodoos we see today.

During the summer months, the sunrise usually takes place a little after 6:00 a.m. When the sun peaks over the distant plateaus, a radiant light slowly paints the hoodoos. From the viewpoints around the Amphitheater, you can watch this colorful transformation.

Most visitors choose to watch the sunrise from Sunrise Point (the obvious choice). However, as sunrise gets closer, this area is bombarded with people squeezing onto the small landing.

If you are looking for other options for viewing the sunrise, BFT contributor Taylor recommends watching the sunrise from Sunset Point. Although it sounds backward, the view is almost identical to Sunrise Point, and there is plenty of room to look at the whole canyon and take pictures.

If nothing else, stand somewhere along the Rim Trail between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point to watch as a kaleidoscope of oranges, pinks, and yellows turns the canyon into a golden paradise.

Tip: Temperatures during early and late hours can be low because of the park’s high elevation. Whether you are visiting in the summer or winter, always bring some warm layers, especially if you plan on visiting the park before sunrise.

Expansive view out over Amphitheater Canyon in Bryce Canyon National park at sunrise
Watching the sunrise over the Amphitheater is one of the best things to do in Bryce Canyon / Photo credit: Taylor Pike

3. Visit the Viewpoints

There are nine viewpoints at Bryce Canyon National Park. They are all worth checking out if you have the time.

My favorite viewpoint in the park is Inspiration Point. Located west of Sunset and Sunrise Points, this location gives you a higher view than those along the Rim Trail, allowing you to look at the countless hoodoos from afar. The pure number of rock spires will astound you.

Amphitheater from Inspiration Point at sunrise, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA
Inspiration Point shortly after sunrise

4. Go Horseback Riding in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park offers horseback riding tours on the Peekaboo Loop. If you’d like to rest your legs and still see the splendor of the inner canyon, reserve a 2-hour guided trail ride with Canyon Trail Rides.

Horseback rides begin for the season once the snow and ice melt, typically around April 1.

5. Take the Southern Scenic Drive

Once you drive past the initial 3 miles of the main park road in the Bryce Amphitheater section, the Southern Scenic Drive begins. Drive the remaining 15 miles of the park road up to Rainbow Point and experience the forested section of the park.

I recommend driving for 40 minutes straight to Rainbow Point without stopping. On your way back down, stop and see the majestic beauty throughout the canyon. With multiple scenic points, you will see Bryce Canyon from every perspective possible.

Plan about two to three hours to complete this 36-mile roundtrip drive.

Looking North up through Bryce Canyon from Rainbow point showing the valley and rock formations
Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon National Park

6. Stargaze on a Night Hike

One of the more uncommon features of Bryce Canyon National Park is the starry sky that glows over the park come nightfall. With limitless stars, night hikes are a great way to experience the trails by headlamp.

On full moons, you can participate in a ranger-led Full Moon hike. With only the moonlight to guide you, these treks are one-of-a-kind.

Moon rise along the Rim trail between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon 1-day Itinerary

If you plan to visit Bryce Canyon National Park for the first time, use this Bryce Canyon itinerary to help you plan your day. This itinerary is designed for one adventure-packed day in the park with a blend of hikes and stops along the viewpoints in the park.

Below is a Bryce Canyon 1-day itinerary to help you make the most of your time in this beautiful park.

1. Catch the Sunrise at Inspiration Point

One of the best times of the day in Bryce Canyon is sunrise. Watching the sun illuminate the hoodoos in the Bryce Amphitheater is heavenly.

To watch the sunrise, drive into the park early and take the main park road to the parking lot for Inspiration Point. This spot is less crowded than Sunrise Point or Sunset Point at sunrise, offering a more peaceful experience (and better photos).

Inspiration Point is one of the best spots for sunrise in Bryce Canyon. Although you can hike up the steep incline to the highest overlook at Inspiration Point, you do not have to do this as the view is not significantly better. You can get canyon views in a 1-minute walk from the parking lot.

Sunrise at Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park. There is a orange and pink sun in a cloudy skies with hoodoos below.
Sunrise at Inspiration Point / Photo credit: Kaylin Zittergruen @katekeepswild

2. Drive to Sunrise Point

After sunrise, drive to the parking lot for Sunrise Point. If you are craving coffee or a donut, stop in the General Store by Sunrise Point. There are restrooms and coin-operated showers here if you need them.

Once settled, fill your water and grab your hiking pack. Walk to the Sunrise Point overlook and admire the vast canyon below.

Then, walk half a mile on the Rim Trail to Sunset Point. From here, you can see the iconic Thor’s Hammer hoodoo.

3. Hike the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail

On your walk from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point, you completed the first half mile of the most popular hike in the park: the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail. Stay on the Navajo Loop trail past Sunset Point to continue this moderate 3-mile hike.

You can choose to descend the steep switchbacks or take the Wall Street section of the trail (if it is open when you visit). This trail will drop you into the canyon to see the hoodoos up close.

Take an offshoot of the trail to Queens Garden to see the Queen Victoria hoodoo. Then, enjoy walking underneath three tunnels along the path. The hike is easy to moderate, and the only uphill climb comes at the end to get back to Sunrise Point; however, this climb is gradual, and you can stop for breaks as needed.

People walking on switchbacks along the Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park.
The switchbacks on the Navajo Loop trail / Photo credit: Kaylin Zittergruen @katekeepswild

4. Take the Southern Scenic Drive

When you finish hiking, head back to your vehicle and settle in for a bit of a drive. You will take the main park road to the southernmost point: Rainbow Point.

I recommend driving straight to Rainbow Point without stopping on the way up. It is about a 35-minute drive from the Sunrise Point parking lot.

The Southern Scenic Drive will take you through the 15-mile forested park section. This section is less crowded than the Bryce Amphitheater and offers vastly different views.

Once you get to Rainbow Point, park and look around to admire the views. On the drive down, you can stop at the other scenic viewpoints, which will be easier to pull in and out of on the right-hand side.

5. Eat Lunch in the Park

On your drive back to the Bryce Amphitheater section of the park, stop for lunch at The Lodge, Valhalla Pizzeria, or have a picnic.

There are picnic tables near the General Store by Sunrise Point. You can purchase a few light options in the General Store if you did not bring a lunch.

6. Stop by the Visitor Center

After eating, stop by the park Visitor Center. Here, you can check out the Visitor Center Museum, which features exhibits on geological, ecological, and human impacts, and night sky and air quality exhibits. You can also shop for souvenirs and get a stamp on your national park passport.

A sign that says Bryce Canyon National Park outside of the Visitor Center.
A park sign outside of the Visitor Center / Photo credit: Kaylin Zittergruen @katekeepswild

7. Walk or Bike on the Shared-Use Path

For the remainder of the afternoon, leave your vehicle in the Visitor Center parking lot and take a walk or bike ride down the 5-mile paved Shared-Use Path that runs through the park.

If you don’t have a bike, you can rent standard bikes and e-bikes in the park for two hours. It is a relaxing way to enjoy the trail and see the park.

8. Grab Dinner

If you did not stop at The Lodge or Valhalla Pizzeria for lunch, you could consider one of these spots for dinner. Or, check out a restaurant in Bryce Canyon City or Tropic. You can also swing by your campsite or hotel to make dinner before you head back to the park for sunset.

9. Catch the Sunset

After you have time to eat and relax, head back into the park to watch the sunset from Sunset Point. If it is crowded, there are similar views of the canyon at Sunrise Point or along the section of the Rim Trail between these points.

10. Stargaze in the Park

To end the night, stay past the sunset to see how the stars illuminate the sky. On clear nights, you can see the Milky Way.

Bring a headlamp for a night hike to keep the adventure going. When finished, you can head to your campsite or hotel for the evening and reminisce on your day in Bryce Canyon.

The Milky Way with stars and clouds over an orange rock formation at Bryce Canyon National Park at night.
A hoodoo with small windows and Thor’s Hammer against a night sky

Want to explore Utah even more? Check out these resources:

Save this post to Pinterest

Have you visited this beautiful national park? What are your favorite things to do in Bryce Canyon? Did we miss anything in our Bryce Canyon itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

This article was originally written by Taylor Pike and was updated by the Bearfoot Theory team in 2024.


Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles